City Council will vote Thursday to take property rights from beachfront owners who refuse to allow the construction of dunes and the widening of beaches in front of their Ocean City homes.
At its public meeting 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Ocean City Free Public Library, council will consider the first reading of an ordinance that would authorize the "acquisition of certain interests in real properties by negotiation, purchase, condemnation or eminent domain."
Supporting documentation lists 39 properties where owners would not voluntarily sign easements allowing the beach replenishment work (see names and addresses below).
No call to the published telephone numbers of several of the owners on the list was returned on Tuesday.
The administration of Mayor Jay Gillian has been trying to obtain easements necessary for an authorized Army Corps of Engineers project that would rebuild beaches and dunes between 34th Street and Corson's Inlet State Park at the southern end of Ocean City.
The project is not yet scheduled but is expected to be completed sometime in 2014. Beaches at Ocean City's southern end were severely eroded even before Superstorm Sandy struck in October 2012, but the storm's record flooding wiped out dunes and pushed much of the beach onto the streets.
A hodgepodge of different deeds give some but not all beachfront owners rights to the public beach area in front of their homes. The ordinance would authorize the city to use whatever means necessary to acquire any property that is a separate unimproved lot (on the beach) and to acquire an easement for properties with a residential or commercial structure.
A recent court case that gave a Long Beach Island couple just $1 to settle a lawsuit over a seized easement led to an executive order from Gov. Chris Christie to have the Attorney General's Office go after homeowners who won't grant dune easements along New Jersey's 127 miles of coastline. In a recent letter to the public, Gillian said his staff met with the Attorney General's staff in coordinating efforts to obtain the easements.
Most of the holdouts in Ocean City live in the area between 34th Street and 40th Street, part of an area where healthy dune systems helped protect property and where beaches remain relatively wide. Some owners near there are suing over the height of dunes.
The Army Corps of Engineers completed a beach replenishment project on the north end of the island in June 2013, but worked around a property where the owner refused to sign an easement. That property is included on the list of easements sought by City Council.
The city will work to acquire easements at the following locations:
- 3420 Wesley Avenue: Daniel and Phyllis Hughes
- 3422 Wesley Avenue: The Family Trust Created Under the Veronica P. Talotta Revocable Trust Agreement (dated Nov. 13, 2008), Nicholas J. Talotta, Trustee
- 3427A Wesley Avenue: Brendan and Elizabeth Ratigan
- 3428 Wesley Avenue: Benjamin and Kathleen Colletti
- 3430 Wesley Avenue: William and Joan Frizlen
- 3433 Wesley Avenue: Linda Hammond
- 3412 Wesley Avenue: Joseph and Edna Elvich
- 3504 Wesley Avenue: Joseph and Pamela Balkovec
- 3506 Wesley Avenue: George and Cindy Valko
- 3508 Wesley Avenue: Patricia F. Connell, Trustee, OPH Qualified Personal Residence Trust
- 3520-22 Wesley Avenue: Jeffrey and Judith Carpenter
- 3524 Wesley Avenue: Raymond R. Martino, Trustee of the Raymond R. Martino Irrevocable Trust, and Rosemary Martino, Trustee of the Rosemary Martino Irrevocable Trust
- 3528-30 Wesley Avenue: Theodore Q. Costella (Estate)
- 3602 Wesley Avenue: Dennis and Shirley Dougherty
- 3606 Wesley Avenue: David and Ellen Henry
- 3620 Wesley Avenue: Michele Clark-Dougherty
- 3622 Wesley Avenue: Grace B. Conway, Trustee of the Trust Agreement Dated Oct. 1, 1997
- 3624 Wesley Avenue: 3624 Wesley LLC
- 3626 Wesley Avenue: William and Kristine Thum
- 3720-22 Wesley Avenue: Daniel and Edwina Amoroso
- 3724 Wesley Avenue: Margaret Walters
- 3726 Wesley Avenue: Michael and Denise Rotko
- 3728 Wesley Avenue: Radnor 1, Inc.
- 3730 Wesley Avenue: Wenonah Holdings, Inc.
- 3800 Wesley Avenue: Marilyn Leonard
- 3804-06 Wesley Avenue: Richard and Esther Sykora
- 3816 Wesley Avenue: Lawrence and Catherine Carron
- 3818 Wesley Avenue: Eli and Jean Kahn
- 3900-02 Wesley Avenue: Leon and Peggy Lou Kanzanjian Jr.
- 3905 Central Avenue: Riccardo and Joanne Possumato and John and Beth Manzi Jr.
- 3913-15 Central Avenue: Richard and Virginia Pepe
- 4020-26 Central Avenue: Joseph and Beverly Conroy
- 4043 Central Avenue: John and Eva Wiley
- 4116-18 Wesley Avenue: Virginia DeYoung (Estate), Joanne Sellers, Executrix
- 4132-34 Wesley Avenue: Elva Mumma (Estate)
- 4808-10 Wesley Avenue: James E. McDonnell II, Trustee Under Revocable Trust Agreement of James E. McDonnell II, dated Jan. 26, 1996
- 5647 Central Avenue: Anthony and Lois Tedeschi
On the north end:
- 9 Beach Road: Vince and Jeanie Hubach
- 13 Beach Road: Vince and Jeanie Hubach